Koh Lipe is Thailand's secret island paradise, with its turquoise waters, white sand beaches and a population of just 800 people. It spans only 3km in length, but has many unique bars, restaurants and beaches. It is no wonder it's known as the Maldives of Thailand!
This hidden gem is frequented by Thai vacationers. When we were there the Princess of Thailand even made Koh Lipe into a day trip!
Our Koh Lipe guide includes the 8 best things to do in Koh Lipe, the best time to visit, how to get to Koh Lipe and where to stay.
Koh Lipe Guide
Best time to Visit Koh Lipe
The best time to visit Koh Lipe is during between December - March. This is when it is the driest, so you will have the least probability of rain. However, this is high season, so expect higher prices. December and the beginning of January is especially busy due to Christmas and New Years holidays, so we recommend travelling to Koh Lipe in February or March.
May - November is the low season with less tourists and better prices, however you will likely see some rainy days. The rainiest months are September and October.
How to get to Koh Lipe
What keeps Koh Lipe a hidden gem, is that it's not the easiest island to get to. It's in the far south of Thailand and is one of the closest islands to Malaysia. You will need to take a regional flight to Hat Yai, a 2-hour taxi to Pak Bara Pier and a 1.5 hour speedboat to Koh Lipe.
See our article on how to get to Koh Lipe from Bangkok or Phuket. It also covers the best regional airlines to book and how to book your transport and speedboat.
8 Fun Things to do in Koh Lipe
1. Beach day on Sunrise Beach
Sunrise Beach is known for its abundance of aquatic marine life, so you can snorkel right off the beach! Grab your beach bag, beach towel, a fresh cold coconut and head over to the beach to soak up the sun. When you've had enough relaxing on the picturesque white sand beach, take a dip in the crystal clear blue sea.
2. Kayak to the tiny islet of Koh Kra
Rent a kayak from Sunrise Beach and take a 30-minute paddle over to the remote islet, Koh Kra. There is a small beach on the southern side you can park your kayak. Walk a few steps to the Northern side of the island to find a peaceful sandy beach to swim in. This was our favourite activity in Koh Lipe.
3. Shop & explore Koh Lipe's Walking Street
You'll find tons of clothing shops, bars, massage parlours and restaurants on Walking Street. The best part about it is that there aren't motorbikes or tuk tuks zipping by. At night time, the street comes alive with people walking about, eating fresh grilled fish and heading to bars that play live music.
4. Have a lazy lunch at Elephant Koh Lipe
Elephant Koh Lipe gets our vote for the best restaurant in Koh Lipe. It is located on Walking Street and has top notch Western food, good coffee and cocktails. Grab one of their board games (we chose Scrabble!) and enjoy a lazy lunch. Our favourite menu items were the hot wings and the American style pizza. It was a nice break from all the Thai food we had been eating.
Elephant's live music in the evenings consisted of a singer-songwriter on a guitar with a pianist. We suggest skipping the sentimental mood and heading elsewhere in the evening.
5. Enjoy the beach bar vibes at Sea La Vie Koh Lipe
We think Sea La Vie may be the coolest beach bar in the world. The eccentric decor gives off a castaway shanty vibe that says "we're creative and realllly laid back". Progressive deep house music sets the groove with tons of pillows, beanbags and hammocks for sprawling out in. We were delighted that they were not playing popular college beachy tunes. Sea La Vie was a joy to relax at.
6. Enjoy the nightlife in Koh Lipe and go to a chilled-out full moon party
If you happen to be in Koh Lipe during a full moon, you don't want to miss Sea La Vie's full moon party. And we don't mean a "tons of teenagers covered in glow sticks drinking buckets of booze" kind of full moon party.
This was a really cool event. The crowd was more mature and there is a lot of seating where you can people watch and hang out. The music was upbeat and the dim lighting provided a cool ambiance. It was lively with many people chatting bar side and dancing in the sand by the DJ booth. Arrive early to get a nice seat and quick drink service. We loved the nightlife in Koh Lipe!
7. Chill & listen to Reggae at Rasta Bar
Off the beaten path lies the newly opened Rasta Bar with a nice seating area and pillows to hang out on. The staff were really friendly here, drinks cheap and we enjoyed it so much we came back five times! Bring a game, chat with a local or lay down and soak in the island life at this special spot.
8. Go scuba diving
Koh Lipe is located in one of the best diving regions in the world. It's on the border of Tarutao National Marine Park, which is made up of 50 islands and more than 20 dive sites. You will see plenty of colourful reef fish and coral and may have a chance to see whale sharks, seahorses, leopard sharks, manta rays or devil rays!
If you've never dived before, check out the Ko Lipe Diving School. They have a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor and offer a 1 Day Scuba Diving program.
Where to stay in Koh LipeDisclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we have used or that we believe will add value to our readers.
The first thing to look at when choosing a hotel is its proximity to your desired beach. We wanted to stay on Sunrise Beach since it's known as the most beautiful beach on the island with its calm turquoise waters.We chose Idyllic Concept Resort . We found it had the best location on Sunrise Beach, since the long tail fishing boats didn't park directly in front of the hotel. It's also a close walk to beach bars and restaurants, but far enough away to have a remote feeling.
Idyllic Concept Resort has modern and clean rooms, a beach bar, two large pools, a good restaurant with beach view and even a free kayak rental. The downsides of the resort were that they don't have a gym, their landscaping could be improved and they use salt water in the shower.
We hope you enjoy this chilled-out island as much as we did!
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